INSIGHT: Why did Yosef separate Shimon and Levi?

So Very, Very Sorry!

So Very, Very Sorry!

Yosef’s brothers began speaking among themselves in Hebrew, thinking that Yosef could not understand. (All along, to conceal his identity and make it seem like he didn’t understand Hebrew, Yosef had been speaking to them through an ‘interpreter’, who not surprisingly was his son Menashe.)

מה קורה כאן? מדוע מגיע לנו עונש כזה?

“What’s going on? Why are we being punished?” they asked each other.

זה בגלל כל הרע שעשינו ליוסף לפני הרבה שנים…

“Don’t you remember? It’s all because of the terrible thing we did to our brother Yosef many years ago,” replied one of the brothers. “He begged us not to sell him, but we did it anyway!”

“Well,” said Reuven, the oldest, “I told you all not to do it. I told you to have mercy on him. He was just a young lad!”

Listening to his brothers’ remorse, Yosef became very emotional. He turned away, so they would not notice the tears in his eyes. But he was careful not to reveal his true identity to his brothers. It was still too soon.

Yosef interrupted their discussion. “Go, I said! But you,” he pointed at Shimon, “stay here in prison until the rest of your brothers return.”

Shazak insight

Why did Yosef separate Shimon and Levi?

Yosef knew that the two brothers, Shimon and Levi, were tremendous warriors. Even as teens, they were able to conquer the entire city of Shechem! (This story is related in Parshas VaYishlach.) Yosef was afraid that they might try to destroy Egypt together, so he separated the two strong brothers.

Geared for Kids... Great for Adults!

Geared for Kids... Great for Adults!

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